Council leader says potential carve up of Hucknall is Government's idea
The leader of Ashfield District Council has defended the authority against claims it is trying to carve up Hucknall under new Parliamentary boundary proposals.
As reported in the Dispatch last week, councillors voted in favour of a proposal that would see Hucknall West become part of the new Ashfield constituency while the rest of the town remained part of the Sherwood as part of the Boundary Commission for England’s new-look Parliamentary constituencies.
All Hucknall councillors except Chris Baron (Con) voted against it and Labour’s Lauren Mitchell has now started an online petition to ‘keep Hucknall together’.
The Ashfield Independents, who control the council, have come in for criticism from other opposition councillors, the public and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer for, as they see it, trying to break up Hucknall.
But Coun Zadrozny said this was not the case.
He said: “I must make it clear that Ashfield District Council hasn’t instigated any of this.
"We are feeding into a process instigated by the Conservative Government.
“Any change of Parliamentary boundaries is a source of controversy and I believe now is not the time to do so as we lead the recovery from Covid-19.
“I’ve seen the petition but must stress that the Mansfield Labour Party has an entirely different view to Hucknall as it would lose 3,000 houses to Ashfield.
"To just oppose a suggestion is not a solution, however.
"I look forward to the Labour Party in north Nottinghamshire getting its heads together and coming up with alternative, legal proposals.
“If I had my way, I would just a draw a ring around the district of Ashfield and suggest that, but Government rules preclude that as it would be too big.
“The proposals are at the first stage and I must make it clear that they are being submitted to start a conversation.
"Any decision will not be made for two years and in that time there will several more public consultations and public hearings, which the Government has to do.
“We have held cross-party meetings and that is where the initial proposal came from.
“Coun Mitchell, to be fair, has opposed these plans as have my own Ashfield Independent Hucknall councillors.
"In fact, the only Hucknall councillor who voted in favour of splitting Hucknall at last week’s vote was the Conservative Chris Baron.”